Friday, October 7, 2011

What I'm reading.

 Yes, yes, I know, this is the book that is currently been read for the APW book club. Are you reading it yet? Are you coming to discuss it? Thing is, I started reading this book even before Meg suggested it. Other girls have talked about the book and I was very curious about it, if also a bit scared. First of all, and where I first heard about this book, there was the inspiring Cate Subrosa. But then came an avalanche. Kirsty was talking about reading it for the Blook(Bloggers + books) Club , and that's how I got to Conversation Pieces (and wished I was in the UK to participate). And well,all these girls I admire talking about this book confirmed it really must be worth a read.
Of course I thank feminism. If only because it gave us girls the chance to study, to vote, to have an opinion, to stop being considered as "the skin of the devil" (yes, the Middle Ages were one dark period). But from that to being an active feminist... I have to say you can blame me for taking things for granted, for being spoiled by all the fight that was done before me. Sure, I read the 2 tomes of "The Second Sex" (Le deuxième sexe) by Simone de Beauvoir, in french, when I was 22. And I loved it. But I also made the mistake of associating feminism with silly prejudices. When it comes to prejudices, we should be wary, I think even more when it comes to our own. Better to break them. And so I was afraid of saying out loud that I was a feminist, because of associations to bitter, angry women, burning bras, hating men, and pretending that we are better than them. Treating those with the Y chromosome as THE enemy. And as the cause of all of us girls' troubles. See, I don't believe any of that. So, I gave Caitlin Moran a chance, after all she was supposed to be funny,  and boy was I surprised. Reading her put me right in my place, it made me realize that of course, those assumptions of mine were stupid, and that there is,obviously, still a fight to be fought and it is up to us to fight it. Take this for instance:

"... It doesn't need to be a `man vs woman´ thing. It's just a tiff between The Guys. Seeing the whole world as 'The Guys' is important. The idea that we're all, at the end of the day, just a bunch of well meaning schlumps, trying to get along, is the basic alpha and omega of my world view. I'm neither 'pro-women' nor 'anti-men'. I'm just 'Thumbs up for the six billion'. Because I don't think that 'men'/maleness/male sexuality is the problem here. I don't think sexism is a 'man vs woman' thing." 

And then this:

"Ladies!, Being a woman is ... very, very, very expensive. Tampons, hairdressers, childcare, beauty aids, women's shoes being three times more costly than men's - the combination of the things we need (Lil-lets) combined with the things we feel naked without (proper haircut) is already ruinous. And that's before we factor in both women earning 30 per cent less than men and being the ones who usually have to watch their career go all -titanic when the question of  'Who will look after the kids?' raises its head. "

So yes, read it. And it's true, it's hilarious, and you will not be able to put the book down. I only wish I was british (oh I am) I had grown up in the UK, because as funny as she is, half the jokes I don't get because of the cultural context. Anyway, whether you read APW or not, if you would like to get together for this book club, let me know.


  1. I am a feminist. Big time. Not burning bras or trash talking about men, but one who does believe that we live in a patriarchal society that is not fair towards women, that there's still a loooot of work to be done and that we better start doing ourselves because no one will do it for us.
    I didn't know I was a feminist until I studied feminist jurisprudence (a feminist view on legal theory). When I read Robin West, Carol Gilligan, Tronto, Iris Marion Young I felt I was having an epiphany: these women really understood what I had been feeling for a long time!
    I am curious about the book you mention and will read it when we come back from our trip to Argentina!

  2. I think we have misconceptions about feminism. And for that matter, I think, I never say I'm feminist, because I know I'll end up being misunderstood, but in fact I am. Even though I never think myself as one, I know by my actions that I am. And it is a hard battle, because this is a patriarchal society, and these habits are ingrained in our day-to-day life. And because so much as changed people tend to think that "it's all ok" now, and women have nothing to complain. And that's wrong. I do not complain. But I fight it silently every day. Men and women are different, let's not say it otherwise. We are. We have different ways of seing things, we enjoy different things. Ladies will be ladies, and boys will be boys. That's not what this is about. But we are equals and we are supposed to take the same responsibilities in a family and be respected equally.

  3. For instance... Here (I suppose not just here, but I talk of what I know) the man is the house owner, the family chief, and the woman is the housekeeper. And let me say that this has changed a lot in these last generations, before it was man=boss, woman=maid, and since it as changed so much, woman don't care anymore and are led to acept that fact. I do not acept it. I get pissed of inside when we talk about moving to a bigger house and people look at me and say "you'll have a bigger place to clean". I allways answer with a smile, like it's nothing, and say "we don't care about that, we are not afraid of the mop" or "say that to Francisco, he is at home much more than I am". And that is in fact true. He does much more cleaning at home, just because that's our circumstances, that's what our jobs imposes us. On the other hand, when I'm at home I do almost all the cooking, and that's because I love to do it, not because I have to. :) And this is just a tiny bit of the society, there's a whole lot more if we talk about job position, etc etc...

  4. All of that written, and not one word about the book! I got carried away on the subject!! :D I'm definetely curious about it, yes. :) This touches me particulary, and I don't talk about this often. I don't have "complains", if we can say it like that, at home. We respect each other for what we are, and I'm grateful for finding such a man. I would never ever had considered marrying a guy (not even being together) otherwise. Still, this is curious... all these years we've been together, we only had three big arguments. Three different situations, but for the same reason. Me feeling disrespected by his (our) friends as a woman (and him going along with it, as it was a normal thing) in a way that people think is acceptable (even my girlfriends, my sisters...), because men are men. So... I'm thinking, maybe I should get the book in portuguese so that we could read some parts together. Hum?

  5. @ Marcela, like Ines said, of course, by my actions I am also a feminist, and of course I am against all those things the patriarchal society puts upon us, starting with a potential employer asking for a negative pregnancy test, no matter if it's illegal (happened to me in Mexico a few years ago), or just not hiring you because you are -in the breeding age, even if these things will not be said out loud. And you are so right, it is up to US to fight these fights, to stand up for ourselves, no one will do it for us.

    @ Ines, funny, I think we are more similar than we think, it is for those same reasons (being afraid of judgement and misunderstandings, guilty myself) that I never really said out loud that I was in fact a feminist. But of course I believe in an equal society, and in terms of our relationship, the boy and I always clean together, it's actually a fun thing, we put music on and every time we divide the chores depending on what each feels like doing so we switch things, and well I also do most if not all of the cooking because it is something I thorughly enjoy. But if we were to "meausure" then on cleaning wise it must be 60 % him /40 % me so it's fair. Also I thing that as much as society should be equal Boys and Girls ARE different, think, reason, react different. And we should not:
    a). deny that fact, after all it is something deeper, it is a biological, physiological, non refutable reality and
    b). think it is a negative thing. I believe that in difference lies richness, that is what makes the world, our lives worth living, that there is something other, to discover all the time. Much like the french saying "Vive la difference".

  6. I was wondering, do you think you being afraid of saying out loud that you are/agree with feminist thinking may have had something to do with Mexico's machismo? I know the word feminism itself is object of mockery back in Argentina and I am yet to find too many people who understand what it is about down there. It was during my studies abroad that I came in contact with real, good feminist thinking for the first time and it was such an eye opener. Did you know that the whole way in which Human Rights are conceived is patriarchal, for example? I didn't, until 2 years ago! I can send you some articles if you are interested, or recommend a few books.

  7. Here are a few articles:
    This one is particularly brilliant:

  8. @ Marcela... well, maybe it does unconsciously this reluctance has to do with mexican machist culture. I know that if you would say it out loud people would be scared of you, they would take it in a somewhat agressive way. I also didn't start reading about it until I was outside of Mexico either. And I did not know about the Human Rights either... I will check those articles, thanks !


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